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Biggest Solar Storm In 6 Years Creates Spectacular Auroras [Images]

Solar Flare 2012

Here on Earth, we are currently experiencing the biggest solar storm since 2005, and it’s producing some spectacular auroras.

Northern lights on Kvaløya Image CC licensed by Lars Tiede: Northern lights on Kvaløya 2012-01-23

According to NASA, after one of the longest and weakest periods of solar activity in many cycles, the Sun is becoming highly active again. This current activity may be a sign of more to come during the solar maximum of 2012-13.

The above image of the Sun was captured by NASA as an active region sent two quick blasts on January 19, which sent particle clouds towards Earth at 1,400 miles per second.

Aurora - NorwayImage CC licensed by Dan Nordal

Airliners have been avoiding North Pole routes because of exposure to the proton storm. Apparently such storms can disrupt high frequency communications, which are important for keeping aircraft in contact with air traffic control. Satellites and power grids may also be affected.

One of the positive and altogether awe–inspiring consequences is the solar storm is the stunning aurora activity created, as evidenced by these stunning images. They were captured by fortunate observers in Norway and Finland.

Aurora - NorwayImage CC licensed by Dan Nordal

The effects of the storm began on Sunday and are expected to continue until later this week. That’s great news if you are in the far north of the world, and are looking to experience one of the most incredible natural sights you are ever likely to see.

Aurora - NorwayImage CC licensed by Dan Nordal

Aurora - FinlandImage CC licensed by Dan Nordal

Aurora - NorwayImage CC licensed by Janne

 Feature image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: A blasts from the Sun on Jan. 19, 2012 which have sent particle clouds headed towards Earth.

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